Emily’s Pandemic Food Experience

Due to the restrictions, I was not able to cook with staff in my home so I would go to Synergy, a day program, and use their kitchen there to do my cooking. I used to go to this day program so they were ok with me using the space. Cooking at Synergy can be a bit tough though because I have to remember to bring everything with me and then bring it back to my home. Deciding what to cook can also be difficult but now I’m cooking for just myself and not others which makes it easier to pick meals I like. During Covid, I have tried many different options to help me with food due to restrictions. I found it helpful getting meals from Richmond Food Security Society as it helped with the amount of cooking that I had to do and was a change in the week as I wouldn’t know what I was getting beforehand. I also tried Better Meals as another option so that I don’t need to cook every day. It was helpful and nice to get a soup and dessert but I decided I liked having fresh food more. I also like knowing what was in the food and being able to make it healthy.

I looked into online grocery shopping but I needed to create an account and put in credit card information and I did not feel comfortable with that so I decided that I prefer going in person. Near the beginning of the pandemic, I bought some cookbooks to help me think of food ideas. When I was able to, I also went to the library and took out cookbooks there. There are a lot of different recipes in there and things that I’ve never had before. It is really nice to try different things and it is hard to think of different meals to eat. They also give you different ways of cooking things too and I find that interesting.

I have also been going to restaurants during COVID as well. When I go there, there is limited seating, and when you are not eating you have to wear a mask. I sometimes go to my favourite restaurants to support them but I also try to explore other places as well. When I’m not able to go to the restaurant I get takeout. I tried to use Uber Eats and Skip the Dishes and at first, they were difficult to use, but with help, I was able to get through it. My aunt and uncle told me about it and how helpful they found it.

I look forward to when it is done and I can go back to having my normal everyday life back. It has been so long and I can’t wait to live my life how I like it.

An Interview with Emily

What is you/your family’s migration story?

I was born in Vancouver but my mom was born in Hong Kong and my dad was born in Singapore

How do you normally help out at home when preparing for meals?

I make a grocery list in advance for all the meals I will need in the next week and cook them with my support worker.

How has the pandemic impacted the way you eat and access food (e.g., group meals, restaurants, home cooking, grocery stores, gardening)? Did you try anything new because of the pandemic?

I’m frustrated with the pandemic because sometimes I’m not able to get all the foods I would like but I have tried many new ways to access food, such as delivery services, better meals, and Richmond Food Security Society.

What are some of your favourite restaurants in Richmond? Why are they your favourite?

White Spot, Boston Pizza, Pizza Hut, Earls, Dim Sum restaurants and other chinese restaurants are my favourites and I like them because they taste really good.

What are you looking forward to after the pandemic is over?

I am looking forward to travelling and getting to go places with my family. It will also be really nice to see other people and not have to wear a mask.

Richmond Society for Community Living

This story is part of a collaboration with Richmond Society for Community Living (RSCL), Richmond’s largest non-profit social service organization that provides “exceptional programs and services for infants with special needs, children and adults with developmental disabilities…RSCL also helps family members access programs and services, ensuring quality of care throughout the lifespan of the individual supported.”

In this story, a member of RSCL’s Independent Living program, which supports individuals who have chosen to live in their own communities, share their experiences with accessing food and building virtual community during the COVID-19 pandemic.